Sunday, September 26, 2010

John Vaillant at Nicholas Hoare

I didn't really have a chance to write about this back when it happened, but I spotted the photos I took from the back rows at the packed reading at Nicholas Hoare today, and thought I'd post one. 

This book - The Tiger - is really, really good - a very skilful braiding of multiple threads together while never losing the thread of the through-story, which is hard to believe, tense, and would make a great movie. Apparently there has been some interest in the movie rights - keep an eye out. The story would play out something like The Ghost and the Darkness, but I personally think it would be better, and more interesting, especially if the movie can hang on to the idea - which shows up in the books - that what the rest of the world thought was great for Russia - perestroika - was actually disastrous for the people and the tigers of the far easten coast.

I also have to say, if you weren't there, you missed a great reading - Vaillant has an exceptionally good reading style. I asked him later if there was an audio book, and if he did the reading for it. I'm happy to report that he did. . . and maybe the experience of reading for the audio book helped him. Too often I've been disappointed by an author who has a great book, and can't read it aloud: this was mesmerizing. Vaillant is also a very good storyteller, and the way he talked about the creation of the book and explained all the factors that contributed to this complicated relationship between a community of humans and a wounded and angry Amur tiger fit easily between the sections he chose to read. I'm not surprised the bookstore came close to selling out of the book. 

And Nicholas Hoare was a great setting. "This place... it's a shrine," Vaillant said, about the shop, with those awesome floor-to-ceiling shelves and rolling ladders. Have to agree. There's not much in the way of seating for an event like this, but it feels so good to be there. 

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